Pál Csáky, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Ferenc Kalmár, Ministerial Commissioner for Hungary’s Neighbourhood Policy, and József Menyhárt, President of the Party of the Hungarian Community (SMK-MKP), presented the resolution adopted in the European Parliament on the protection of the rights of traditional national minorities, and outlined tasks for the future at an SMK-MKP press conference in Bratislava today.
In the resolution adopted by a large majority, the European Parliament states the European Union’s responsibility to protect traditional national minorities with unprecedented clarity, and, along this line, calls for increased use of tools available and, above all, an improvement in ‘the EU’s legislative framework to protect the rights persons belonging to minorities in a comprehensive manner’. The resolution is a major milestone in the protection of minorities, as the establishment of the ‘diagnosis’ and the determination of the direction of practical problem management pave the way for the European Parliament to develop an EU legal framework and institutional system for the protection of minorities, which will be binding on the Member States.
In the SMK-MKP’s view, effective enforcement of interests — which will be a slow and difficult process — is needed in respect of minority protection, however the resolution — as a first and decisive step — ‘has opened the door’ and constitutes a basis of reference for further steps. MEP Pál Csáky stressed that the President of the European Parliament shall send the European Commission and the European Council the adopted resolution. The MEP then provided details of a few points of the resolution. Ferenc Kalmár welcomed the adopted resolution, then gave a detailed appreciation of the importance of the resolution on the basis of his decades-long work carried out in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on minority protection. ‘It is the beginning of a long road, and we must go further down that road’, he said. He pointed out that ‘it is also important for our survival that national minorities are to be acknowledged as state-creating factors in their countries’.
Pál Csáky was involved as a coordinator in the preparation of the draft resolution because of his active attitude to minority rights issues. The proposed text was thus discussed first during a meeting of the Committee on Petitions, then during a plenary sitting of the European Parliament. (Minority Reports)